San Juan Capistrano to Dana Point: Exploring Both Cities and Getting a Workout Through the San Juan Creek Trail System

The view awaiting arrivals to San Juan Capistrano by Metrolink. Photo from July 2022

San Juan Capistrano and Dana Point have always been among my favorite Southern California communities. With history that dates back to the founding of the United States, relief from summer heat, a very pedestrian-friendly downtown, and a stunningly beautiful and rugged harbor front, these two South Orange County towns in some ways represent the Southland at its best.

On July 9, I visited both communities in one day on foot, walking 15 miles round trip using the San Juan Creek trail system to easily and safely traverse the miles of open space between the beach and the mission area.

A Metrolink Adventure

My day began around 7 a.m. in Riverside. Taking advantage of the $10 round-trip weekend discounted fare, Metrolink was the obvious choice to let someone else do the driving and relax while enjoying the scenery.

It took about two hours to get to Downtown San Juan Capistrano by rail.

But once there, the action begins immediately, since the train station is right in the heart of downtown and just over a block from the historic mission.

From the train station, a left on Verdugo Street leads to the Los Rios Historic District. This shaded route with shops, restaurants and private residences dating from the 18th century is a particularly peaceful and beautiful spot.

I spoke with the homeowner of the Rios Adobe, the longest continuously-occupied private residence in California. Dating from 1794, the home has been passed down through the generations in this Spanish American family. The homeowner told me that not having a mortgage has its trade offs: A nearly three century old home with two acres of property has no shortage of maintenance and repair costs!

A truly picture-perfect spot at Mission San Juan Capistrano. Photo from July 2022

Visiting California’s Most Iconic Mission

All 21 of the Spanish missions along the California coast are unique and memorable. But having visited eight, I must say there is something special about Mission San Juan Capistrano.

Founded in 1776, the mission is as old as our country. Just a few days after Independence Day, I couldn’t help but wonder what it must have been like on July 4, 1776, in the Spanish Southwest.

The museum displays, historic excavations, and picture-perfect gardens and architecture at Mission San Juan Capistrano are truly second to none. It is arguably the best preserved historic site on the West Coast. Any Southern Californian should visit at least once and it is a great stop to add to an itinerary if you’re visiting the Golden State.

As a school employee, I got in free, thanks to Teacher Appreciation Day, which honors school faculty and staff with ID on the second Saturday of each month. I visited with a friend who teaches special education at Redlands Christian Lower School.

If you’re an educator or recent student, you might recognize some of the spots around the mission from your textbooks. The bells, fountain and koi pond, arched outdoor hallways, and the remains of the earthquake-damaged church are often used in school books when discussing the Spanish aspects of early America.

In 1811 and 1812, massive earthquakes struck what is now the western and central United States. Among the most notable temblors were three quakes approaching Magnitude 8 centered near New Madrid, Missouri, in the nation’s midsection.

At San Juan Capistrano, a quake on Dec. 8, 1812, collapsed the church during midweek services. More than 40 people lost their lives. The structure has remained in its semi-collapsed state ever since, a monument to the architectural abilities of the Spaniards and the destructive power of earth’s geologic forces.

If you didn’t know better, you’d think this earthquake-collapsed basilica at San Juan Capistrano belonged in Israel or Turkey. Goes to show the incredible diversity of our region! Photo from July 2022

From SJC to Dana Point

After a healthy lunch, I began the more than five-mile walk from Downtown San Juan Capistrano to Dana Point. Beginning at the Trabuco Creek Trail off Del Obispo Street, the gravel path soon intersected with the paved San Juan Creek trail system, which is popular with bikers, especially those with the latest electric bikes.

The San Juan Creek trail system extends nearly 20 miles from the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains to Doheny State Beach.

Unlike along many paved riverfronts in Southern California, this route is relatively safe, with few homeless. But be careful with the steep drop-offs and watch for bicyclists that move fast!

Along the way, I saw a few of San Juan Capistrano’s world-famous cliff swallows, which inhabit the region from March to early autumn. With urban development, you’re most likely to see the birds along the creek. Walking at a moderate pace, it took about 90 minutes to reach the ocean.

Dana Point Harbor By Foot

A shallow marine layer kept some low clouds and fog into the afternoon on the day I visited, making it particularly pleasant to explore Dana Point Harbor.

For swimmers and waders, there are two options here: The long sandy expanses of Doheny State Beach and the much smaller Baby Beach popular with families in the sheltered harbor.

The rest of the area is a yachtsman’s paradise, with hundreds of sailing and motorboats.

Unfortunately, a childhood memory of Dana Point Harbor is now history. For years, schoolchildren would visit Dana Point to learn about maritime history on board the Pilgrim, an old 19th century tall ship. In 2020, while the world was focused on pandemic news, Dana Point lost its most well-known symbol when the old boat sunk in the harbor. The remains of the ship have been removed from the harbor.

Where the Pilgrim ship once was docked before the unexpected sinking in 2020. Photo from July 2022

The Ocean Institute still offers marine education programs, with a hands-on museum on local and global aquatic life.

And as always, the cliffs are spectacular, and quite reminiscent of Normandy, France, where 80 years ago Allied troops arrived to liberate Europe from Nazi tyranny.

Heading Back

Refreshed by the cool weather and wading in the chilly waters of the Pacific, it was an easy walk back on San Juan Creek and Trabuco trails to San Juan Capistrano, where I caught the last train back to Riverside.

Here’s the video overview of my journey!

Spending Independence Day in Southern California? How to Have a Festive – and Affordable – Fourth Close to Home in 2022.

Fireworks as visible from the University of Redlands campus. Photo from July 2018

2022 is the first truly post-COVID Independence Day. For the first time in three years, we can celebrate our nation’s freedom uninhibited by public health restrictions. And the weather forecast looks good, with fair and moderate weather in most parts of Southern California.

Here’s proposed itineraries for each of the Southland’s subregions, designed to maximize your Fourth of July experience close to home.

Los Angeles Area

With a world again at war, what better way to celebrate Independence Day than to remember the sacrifice and heroism of those who fought for our freedom? The USS Iowa in San Pedro Harbor is open again for in-person tours, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Spend a few hours exploring this World War II battleship. Then, head over to any of the South Bay beach towns to enjoy some fun in the sun. In the evening, head up to the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook in Culver City for a hike and the chance to witness all of the Los Angeles region’s fireworks displays from one central vantage point.

This isn’t Philadelphia. This is Buena Park! Great place to explore on Independence Day. Photo from May 2012

Orange County

Did you know the O.C. has an exact replica of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were signed? It’s part of Knott’s Berry Farm, but is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, admission free, with the express purpose of educating children and immigrant communities about America’s founding. What better day to visit than Independence Day? Then, head over to Huntington Beach, which hosts one of the largest Fourth of July celebrations in the western U.S. Enjoy a carnival and outdoor festival by day and a brilliant fireworks display at 9 p.m.

Redlands celebrates Independence Day in hot rod style with hundreds of well-restored vehicles from around the Golden State on display. Photo from July 2019

Inland Empire

Hundreds of classic cars from the 1920s to midcentury and live music from rockabilly revival band The Altar Billies and The Voice contestants Joy Reunion await attendees of the annual free Fourth of July festival at Packinghouse Christian Fellowship in Redlands. Late morning and early afternoon is the best time to be there. Then, enjoy a walk around the neoclassical architecture of the University of Redlands. At evening, it’s time to see the fireworks, which this year will be at Moore Middle School. Tickets are required, but you can always witness the display from downtown Redlands or any number of local parks.

The Mountains

Street vendors and live music complement the typical shopping, dining and sightseeing in Big Bear on Independence Day 2022. And with cooler temperatures, it might be a great day for hiking or mountain biking. Or maybe swimming or boating on the lake is your speed. Then don’t miss the spectacular fireworks on the lake at 8:45 p.m. Want to get a truly birds’ eye view? You can watch the fireworks from the lifts at Snow Summit!

Visiting California’s birthplace – Mission San Diego de Alcala – is a great way of spending the afternoon on Independence Day. Then head to the bay for California’s biggest pyrotechnic display! Photo from Nov. 2016

San Diego

When I was eight years old, I spent Independence Day in San Diego, visiting the birthplace of California and then watching the fireworks over the bay. Mission San Diego de Alcala dates to 1769 and is the oldest church on the West Coast. It was here that the Spanish established their first permanent settlement in California, a reminder that America’s heritage is a mix of many cultures. Admission to the mission is $8 for adults, with discounts for students, children and the elderly. Then head to the harbor front for the Big Bay Boom, a spectacular fireworks display at 9 p.m., the largest in California!

Wherever you celebrate Independence Day, remember to stay hydrated, don’t drink and drive, and leave fireworks shows to the professionals.

Despite Decades of Urbanization, Agriculture Isn’t Dead Yet in Orange County

The strawberry fields near Cal State Fullerton are a little-known rural gem in the midst of urbanization. Photo from June 2022.

Most lifelong Southern Californians have heard the stories. In yesteryear, the land we know as Disneyland was acres of orange groves. The shopping and dining scene of South Coast Metro was once the site of lima bean fields.

Orange County got its name due to the citrus industry. Citriculture and other farming was big business in late 19th and early 20th century Orange County.

Of course, things are different today. Agriculture is just a tiny fraction of the county’s economy, employing some 314 people, according to the most recent 2017 Census of Agriculture.

But that doesn’t mean farming is completely dead in Orange County or that there aren’t opportunities to experience farm life first-hand without ever leaving the O.C.

Though less prominent than in the Inland Empire, u-pick farms and roadside markets selling farm-fresh produce still dot the landscape in cities such as Fullerton, Yorba Linda, Anaheim and Garden Grove.

One O.C. agriculture survivor is Smith Farms, with locations in Irvine and Fountain Valley. A full line of crops including tomatoes, strawberries, watermelon, lemons, limes, oranges and cantaloupe ensure that there’s always something in season at these family farm outlets.

Seasonal but still worth a visit are a number of strawberry fields in North Orange County, including one that’s just a 40-minute walk from Cal State Fullerton (it’s at 3046 Associated Road and visible from the 57 Freeway).

These fields have markets selling the latest produce (which includes blueberries, citrus and veggies in addition to the much-advertised strawberries) from January to July each year. During the late summer and autumn, the fields are closed while crops are planted and raised to maturity.

Arguably the most sophisticated agritourism business in today’s Orange County is Tanaka Farms. The main location at 5380 3/4 University Drive in Irvine not only has a market stand, but also offers seasonal u-pick and educational tours. The company’s year-round sunflower fields at 427 Anton Boulevard in Costa Mesa (which include seasonal marigolds in autumn) allow the public to come to cut their own flowers for a fee.

I’m just mentioning some of the more notable O.C. farms. Know of others in your neighborhood that you’d like to highlight? Please comment below.

Keeping the Orange County Agricultural Sector Alive

Want to keep Orange County farms from literally dying on the vine? Here’s some ways you can keep the sector thriving in the 21st century.

◾ Make a point of buying farm-fresh fruits and veggies when convenient.

◾ When shopping at grocery stores, check to see if some of the produce is locally-grown and consider this in purchase decisions.

Looking for some healthy hors d’oeuvres for a wedding, graduation, company event or community meeting? Consider buying some fruits and veggies from your local farm. And then share with your guests or attendees about where the tasty delights come from.

If you’re a parent, grandparent or teacher, take the kids to a local farm. It’s a great education on science, economics, social studies and nutrition!

When you visit a local farm, post about it on social media. Your friends and acquittances will be interested and might go themselves to check it out!

Explore the Kern County Deserts With My Upcoming Ebook

My first Southern California travel-focused ebook will be released on June 7! After crowdsourcing suggestions with my 4,500 LinkedIn connections, I selected the Kern County deserts as my topic, harking back to a favorite yet little-known destination I enjoyed in my childhood.

The ebook is focused on a proposed weekend trip itinerary covering such points of interest as Randsburg Ghost Town, the Native American petroglyphs near Ridgecrest, Red Rock Canyon State Park, the Tehachapi Loop, Cesar Chavez National Monument and the Borax Visitor Center in Boron.

Discover answers to questions such as:

  • Where can Native American petroglyphs be viewed in the High Desert?
  • Where did the largest California earthquakes in the past century originate?
  • What geological wonder was a setting for such major motion pictures as “The Ten Commandments,” “Planet of the Apes” and “Jurassic Park”?
  • Where does boric acid come from?

And much more!

Each year, millions of Southern Californians and others take Highway 395 through the Kern County deserts on their way to Mammoth Lakes or Lake Tahoe. This new ebook will transform your perspective, encouraging you to add desert towns such as Ridgecrest to your itinerary as places of interest in their own right.

Pre-order today on Amazon Kindle Store!

I Walked 50,000 Steps in Eight Hours Through Orange County

A look at the CHOC campus from Bedford Road – a photo I took on my walk on May 21, 2022.

Walking long distances is not unusual for me. I’ve walked the half marathon distance many times since childhood. My mother didn’t drive. She was my primary caretaker during my childhood, so by six years old, walks across my city were fairly regular. And as an adult, I’ve been rediscovering the habit in recent months.

But on May 21, I walked not only my personal best, but potentially even a world record for steps in eight hours – if Amazon Alexa is to be believed!

Exploring Four Orange County Cities by Foot

With a deep marine layer, Saturday, May 21, was the perfect day for a walk of incredible distance. Add to it that my route – which ran through Orange, Santa Ana, Garden Grove and Anaheim – is relatively level ground.

At around 8 a.m., I arrived in Old Towne Orange. The city was bustling with activity, as Chapman University was holding commencement. After walking the town, I headed down Glassell Street, coming face-to-face with a massive 1875 Moreton Bay fig tree, before crossing the 22 Freeway and arriving in Santa Ana.

Santa Ana is by far the roughest of the communities I walked through. And I don’t necessarily believe I would take this route again.

I love the architecture of this building on the Chapman University campus! Reminds me of UCLA buildings! Photo from May 2022

However, I experienced a different side of Orange County that I didn’t know still existed: citrus groves! While the county was once one of the world’s leading citriculture regions (hence the name), unlike in the Inland Empire, almost all of the commercial groves have been replaced with businesses or tract housing. But here and there in north Santa Ana, a few groves remain.

Fairhaven Memorial Park, the final resting place of Union Civil War veterans, Orange County’s founders, the first Vietnamese Americans and Holocaust heroine Corrie ten Boom, was my first stop. It was my second time pausing at the burial spot of ten Boom. A truly moving experience if you know her story of saving hundreds of Jews and others during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. (For more on ten Boom’s story and Southern California connections, read my 2021 article).

From there, I backtracked, and took La Veta Avenue through the CHOC hospital campus and the Orange Crush, but with a detour at the Main Place Mall.

The Orange Crush – where the 22, 57 and I-5 freeways meet – is notorious for traffic jams. But it’s quite another experience to see it by foot, utilizing the pedestrian overpass above!

Lunch couldn’t come soon enough! I ate at the Outlets at Orange, formerly known as the Block of Orange. This outdoor shopping center isn’t the teen hangout scene that it was at the turn of the millennium. But it’s still a great place for bargains, getting some exercise in and enjoying a meal.

Whenever I do super long walks, I always eat the same lunch: A roast beef sandwich with no cheese, on a healthy bread, with plenty of veggies. It gives me the best combination of nutrition and stamina for the day.

The Christ Cathedral was a welcome break on my walk. Photo from May 2022.

The Christ Cathedral (formerly the Crystal Cathedral) was my next stop. On a cloudy day, the magnificent architecture is still stunning, and even easier to photograph.

After heading further into Garden Grove to enjoy an ice cream at Baskin Robbins, I started my long journey back to Old Towne Orange.

Along the way I passed the outskirts of the Disneyland district, Angel Stadium, the Grove of Anaheim, and the Honda Center.

By the time I returned to Old Towne Orange a little before 4 p.m., commencement at Chapman University was just wrapping up, but the music was still playing. I had walked 50,000 steps. And I was very sore. But my vitals were good, thanks to plenty of hydration and an electrolyte pack I brought.

Check out my full summary video:

A World Record?

My walk was certainly grueling, but was it truly record-breaking?

If you ask Amazon Alexa, the most anyone has walked in 24 hours is about 100,000 steps. But that takes into account daredevils that walk literally day and night to break the record. That’s not something I’d be interested in!

But dividing the total, walking 50,000 steps in just under eight hours could very well be a record for steps in that timeframe.

Of course, I’m a bit skeptical of the Amazon Alexa information in this case. It just doesn’t seem well sourced. And it certainly doesn’t incorporate the incredible walks that some people have done fleeing danger. Such as recent media reports of an older man who walked to safety from besieged Mariupol in Ukraine.

But the Amazon Alexa figure does give an idea of what’s humanly possible. And I was at the upper end of the spectrum certainly!

There are Nearly 200 Flame Broiler Locations Across the Country. It All Started in Fullerton.

Photo from May 2022

As more Americans desire healthier fast-food options, Flame Broiler’s simple menu of chicken or lean beef bowls, coupled with veggies and rice, have increased in popularity in recent years. The franchise’s presence now extends beyond California to Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee and Oklahoma, with more locations opening every year, often in neighborhood shopping centers or near colleges and universities.

Where did Flame Broiler begin?

At 1203 E. Chapman Ave. in Fullerton!

In 1984, UCLA economics alumnus Young Lee discovered that healthy fast-food options were few and far between. Over time, this prompted him to consider his own entrepreneurship, which he launched in 1995. Initial success resulted in additional locations in Santa Ana and Anaheim. In 1999, Lee began franchising, and Flame Broiler’s presence rapidly expanded.

Today, customers can still enjoy Flame Broiler’s menu at the original Fullerton location, which proudly boasts signage identifying it as the first of its kind.

Within walking distance of Downtown Fullerton, it’s a great stop to add to your day in the dining, shopping, entertainment, and arts and culture scene of this community.

Orange County Honors the Forgotten War at Fullerton’s Hillcrest Memorial

The flags of the United States, South Korea and California wave at the Korean War memorial in Fullerton’s Hillcrest Park. Photo from May 2022

In the past century, the Korean War ranks third, after World War II and the Vietnam conflict, in U.S. battle deaths. The Korean War, which left a total of nearly 5 million people dead, never truly ended. Though active combat concluded in 1953, a final peace agreement has proved elusive, as bellicose North Korean rhetoric regularly reminds the world. The Korean War is also the only U.S. conflict that my immediate family has a link to. My late paternal grandfather, Richard Odell Coats, fought in Korea as a young man.

Despite its historical significance and personal connection to many Americans, the Korean War is often called “the Forgotten War.”

The Korean War National Museum closed in 2017 (the artifacts were transferred to Harry Truman’s presidential library). There are fewer memorials to the Korean War in the U.S. than for any other of the nation’s wars of similar magnitude and impact.

Photo from May 2022

On Veteran’s Day 2021, however, the city of Fullerton unveiled a granite memorial in Hillcrest Park, listing the names of the nearly 40,000 Americans who gave their lives in Korea 70 years ago.

Surviving Korean War veterans and Korean Americans, many of whom grew up amidst the conflict, were on hand for the dedication.

The memorial lists names based on state of origin, making it easy to find those in one’s own region who gave their lives. Waving proudly above the memorial are not only the U.S. and California flags, but also the flag of South Korea, America’s ally in the conflict and a nation that continues to make a heroic stand in defense of freedom.

I personally feel the informative displays could be expanded to create a greater educational experience, but the Hillcrest Park memorial still provides a basic introduction to the Korean War and its significance. Photo from May 2022
Why is the Korean War often forgotten? Perhaps because it ended in a stalemate for all sides involved. No one really won! As this display shows. Photo from May 2022
The memorial may be the most outstanding feature of Hillcrest Park, but the park is a great hiking and photography destination in its own right. Here’s a view of the Fullerton Towers, a major office space. Photo from May 2022
Hillcrest Park truly adds that extra touch of beauty to the city of Fullerton! Photo from May 2022
Why you always want to be careful just listing the last two digits for the year! Hillcrest Park was found in ’22 – not 2022, but 1922! Photo from May 2022

The Korean War memorial is the latest addition to the 37.8-acre park, which includes a restored 1920s-era Works Progress Administration (WPA) historic fountain and stonework. Also don’t miss the fitness-focused timber Hillcrest Stairs.

For remembering the fallen, picnicking, walking or just enjoying a beautiful Southern California day, Hillcrest Park is a great asset to the city of Fullerton and a great addition to any day or weekend in this historic and dynamic community.

In the Footsteps of Cesar Chavez: A Look at Important Places in the Labor Leader’s Life

Cesar Chavez in 1974. Photo from Wikimedia Commons

In California and a growing number of U.S. states, March 31 is celebrated each year as Cesar Chavez Day, a remembrance of California’s foremost civil rights and labor movement leader, the late Cesar E. Chavez. 

Co-founder of the United Farm Workers (UFW), which advocates on behalf of working conditions for agricultural workers across the U.S., Chavez has become an icon in the Mexican American community and an inspiration for many activists of all ethnicities who labor toward a more just economic system.

Chavez was born and died in nearby southwest Arizona. But most of his life work was in California, particularly the Central and Imperial valleys, where thousands work to keep the people of the Golden State and the world fed.

Today, there are a number of sites of historical interest in both California and Arizona where the public, students and activists can learn firsthand about Chavez and his legacy. Here are some places to visit.

Cesar E. Chavez National Monument

The Cesar Chavez Gravesite at the national monument in Keene, California. Photo from Creative Commons

Located in Keene, California, between Bakersfield and the High Desert, the Cesar E. Chavez National Monument was established on Oct. 8, 2012, as the foremost monument to the labor and Latino rights leader.

The property was once the headquarters of the UFW and Chavez’s home from the early 1970s to 1993. The burial sites of Cesar Chavez and his wife Helen, a visitor center, the Chavez office and library, memorial garden, and desert arboretum with the flora of Chavez’s birth community are some of the highlights here.

Additionally, the facility has historical significance even prior to serving as Chavez’s headquarters, having been a quarry and tuberculosis sanitorium in the early 1900s.

The monument is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and admission and parking are free.

Situated along Highway 58, a visit to the monument can easily be combined with a trip to Tehachapi, a historic and picturesque railroad town now developing itself as a wind power capital.

Check out the virtual tour for an in-depth look at the monument. This is great for discussion in academic settings.

The sprawling fields of the Yuma and Imperial valleys, where many agricultural workers still benefit directly from the reforms that Cesar Chavez fought for. Photo from Feb. 2017

Other Sites in California

Several parks, schools, roads, civic buildings and freeways in both Southern and Northern California are named after Cesar Chavez.

One significant memorial is on the downtown pedestrian mall in Riverside, within walking distance of the Mission Inn of Christmas lights fame.

Another site of historical significance is at 452 N. Garfield Ave. in Oxnard, where Chavez lived as a preteen while his parents worked in the adjacent walnut orchards.

Hundreds of miles north in San Jose, a plaque marks the house where Chavez and his wife raised their young family for two years in the early 1950s. Located in the city’s Mayfair neighborhood at 53 Scharff Ave., the home today is a private residence, so please be respectful when viewing the exterior.

Exploring Chavez’s Arizona Roots

Chavez was born in 1927 in North Gila Valley, an agricultural area on the outskirts of Yuma, Arizona. His parents owned a small grocery store and ranch, which they lost in the Great Depression, prompting the family’s move to California as migrant farm workers.

Unfortunately, very little remains from the Chavez Family’s Arizona years. Only two adobe walls still stand of the family homestead and a cement slab is the reminder of a pool hall once operated by Chavez’s father Librado. The boarded-up grocery store the family once operated and Cesar’s childhood school, now an agricultural supply warehouse, are the best-preserved sites here.

But while there is little of traditional historical interest to see in North Gila Valley, perhaps the admirer of Chavez should still visit to experience the lifestyle, culture and economic conditions that formed this man’s outlook and life work.

To this day, the area is a major vegetable-producing area, and migrant labor remains a major local issue.

Cesar Chavez’s journey here on earth ended in the small village of San Luis, about 30 miles from Yuma. He was staying at the home of Maria Hau, a former union official, when he died of natural causes on April 23, 1993.

Once again, there is little for the visitor to see at this pivotal site in Chavez’s life. But the community, situated on the Mexican border, is reported to be among the fastest-growing border towns. It is a good spot for the day visitor seeking to experience a few hours in Mexico, where shopping, dining and nightlife beckon.

For More on Chavez

The Cesar Chavez Foundation is the custodian of the Chavez legacy through maintaining sites of historical interest, coordinating and scheduling speakers on Chavez topics for schools and events, and operating a nonprofit dedicated to educational and economic empowerment.

Communications professionals, educators and others wishing to share Chavez’s perspectives will want to consult the extensive verified collection of Chavez quotes on topics ranging from faith to education to social justice.

And for all of us, regardless of background or ethnicity, we can appropriate for ourselves the slogan of empowerment most associated with Chavez: “Sí, se puede” (“yes, we can”)!

My First Book is Coming Out This April. It Examines the Continuing Impact of World War I.

While a major war rages in Europe, a respiratory pandemic is spreading around the world.

Sounds like today’s headlines. But it was the world of the late 1910s. And it was a global experience that set the stage for what we know as the modern world.

My first ebook is coming out on April 25! Focused on a topic I’ve done research on in the past – how World War I continues to impact the modern world – this is a very relevant read in light of the current war in Europe. It’s accessible to the general lay audience, but also great for a crash course introduction for school use at any level. And it has an extensive selection of authoritative titles for further reading, including a book by some colleagues about the World War I experience specific to Southern California’s Inland Empire.

I chose the date of my book release to coincide with ANZAC Day, a World War I commemoration in many countries.

My goal is to make history interesting. Instead of lengthy discussions of battles and leaders, I emphasize how humanity’s first modern war shapes the world we know. Pre-order your access today!

Some highlights covered in the book…

–       How World War I shaped the modern Middle East, including the Arab/Israeli conflict
–       The story of America’s first woman president, who held office in the aftermath of the war
–       How modern technologies, such as wearable technology, got a big boost during World War I
–       The role of World War I and Spanish flu in the rise of modern medicine
–       Why Australia and New Zealand honor World War I veterans each April 25
–       Why Hollywood might not be the world’s film capital if it weren’t for the war

And much, much more!

The Wende: A Culver City Museum Displays One of the World’s Largest Collections of Soviet Memorabilia

Exterior of The Wende, the most significant Cold War archive in Southern California from a European perspective. Photo from March 2022

For those old enough to remember the bitter Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, the past month has seemed like déjà vu. As Russia and Belarus have invaded Ukraine and threaten NATO allies, the world is once again on the brink of the feared World War III between nuclear-armed superpowers. The conflict comes on the centennial of the founding of the Soviet Union in 1922, an empire that Russian President Vladimir Putin seems determined to attempt to rebuild.

Southern Californians may live half a world away from the fighting in Europe, but they can get a firsthand look at the historical roots of the conflict in the Los Angeles County community of Culver City, which hosts the largest collection of Soviet-era art and artifacts outside of Europe.

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